When introducing your family to their new step-siblings you hope that they get along instantly. But, in most cases it takes some time to get used to new family members.
The best thing to do is allow the kids to create a relationship at their own pace and respect their boundaries.
Redditor redadunsure encountered this very issue with his son. So he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for not making my son invite his new step-brother to his birthday?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“My ex wife recently got married and her husband has a son only a few months younger than ‘Tom;’ my son.”
“His 16th birthday was yesterday and we had a pool party at my home with my family and some of his friends. He always does something at his moms then something with me.”
“Beginning of this month Tom started inviting his friends and a big issue with his mom was he didn’t want to invite ‘Mike’ her husband’s son -Tom’s new step brother though he says he doesn’t see him like that.”
“Tom didn’t want to invite him because he says Mike’s annoying, he doesn’t leave him alone at all when at his mom’s and always tries to tag along when my son is going with his friends or his girlfriend’s house.”
“I had a talk about this with my ex, she does admit Mike is a lot and Tom gets very visibly frustrated with him but she says Mike’s just excited to have an older brother now.”
“Then, I hear she makes Tom bring Mike along even though he doesn’t know any of his friends and Tom complains that it’s so awkward.”
OP decided to give his son a break.
“For this reason I wanted to respect my son’s decision not to invite him along since he says he knows Mike won’t stop following him around everywhere if he came.”
“As long as he is not being rude to Mike and continues being respectful he’s allowed to feel however he wants.”
“And I know he’s still adjusting to having another teen at his mom’s house.”
“He never had a problem with my stepson (14) since he came into our lives and they have a great relationship so I know Tom isn’t doing this only because they’re new step siblings.”
“My ex is saying I’m an a**hole for not making Tom invite Mike and he was just left at home with them for the weekend. AITA?”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA. With so little under your son’s control, it’s important that he be allowed agency when it is available. Sure, it would be nice if they got along and could play happy family, but forcing it, especially when it involves your home (his safe space away from new stepbro), would just further divide his relationship with stepbro AND his mom/stepdad.”
“You’re being completely reasonable.” ~ brightlightdrkshadow
“NTA never push step siblings into bonding or forming a relationship, I’ve only ever seen that sort of thing cause tensions and push mixed families apart, your ex needs to learn to step back and leave em to it.” ~ notahappybunny123
“Heck even siblings. I remember that my brother didn’t want me with him at school and stuff but now he introduced me to his friends on discord and we play League together and have a ton of fun!” ~ Cedot1624
“NTA, she’s pushing too hard for Tom and Mike to be friends, or even get along. From the sound of it, Tom has spend every minute of every day with Mike just to appease his mother. NTA OP.” ~ Odd_Interactions
“You’d think as a teen he’s exaggerating just how much Mike won’t leave his side but even my ex says it’s true.” ~ redadunsure
“Left home alone for the weekend? ‘We were stuck with my new husbands son for a whole weekend!! How dare y’all impose on me like this!’ Is what she meant.”
“Kids can’t be forced to be friends. You can teach them not to ostracize other kids but that should never prevent them making/ keeping their own friends/ family/ social circle.”
“His step brother is latching on to your son and his friend group with too many emotional demands too soon, at best. It’s awkward, minimum. Demanding a presence in his bio dads household is a bridge too far. Everybody knows that.”
“There seems to be a large set of people that think their self assumed responsibilities and complications are up to other people to ease. It’s mind boggling, really.”
“Also personal space. Your ex needs to model, encourage and enforce that.” ~ drhoctor42
“Does your ex not realize she’s making it way worse by forcing Tom to take Mike along when he goes out with his friends or to his girlfriend’s? So much of your son’s frustration is surely Mike being foisted on him all the dang time.”
“She said (or maybe it was stepdad per comments) there’s nothing wrong with Mike wanting to spend time with his stepbrother, but why in the world would that take precedence over what Tom wants? How can she be so blind?”
“Sheesh! Your poor son doesn’t get any respite from his stepbrother except at your house. Good on you Dad. NTA!” ~ Blue-Being22
“Frankly, I think you did everything right. You made sure he remains respectful, validates his feelings, but also respected his wish to finally have a situation where he doesn’t have to include someone he’s not yet comfortable with.”
“While I see where your ex is coming from, forcing inclusion only breeds resentment.” ~ DeimosKai
“That’s one thing my wife and I wanted to make sure we didn’t try with the boys after we got married but luckily they became friends on their own almost instantly.” ~ redadunsure
“It is good when it happens. It seems it might be best if they discussed this with his new stepbrother as while I know he’s not being malicious, his behavior is distressing. Having someone follow you are can be rather unpleasant, regardless of intentions.” ~ DeimosKai
“According to my son and my ex they have discussed his boundary issues with Mike. He still does it and the only one who can really do anything about it is his dad and he doesn’t see how it’s wrong that Mike wants to spend time with my son.” ~ redadunsure
OP was just respecting his son’s boundaries.